Getting Started

Entry Point

There are two primary ways to create an Arelle plugin: via a standalone script or a module (directory).

If using the script approach, your plugin’s entry point is the script itself (

If using the module approach, your plugin’s entry point is the script in your plugin module’s root directory. (myplugin/

Once your entry point is created, it will need to be properly configured as an Arelle plugin. To do this, your plugin’s entry point must define a __pluginInfo__ property as a map with the following properties (some optional):




(Required) Name of plugin for display purposes.


(Required) Version of plugin for display purposes.


Description displayed in the GUI.


Collection of names (in addition to “name”) that match this plug-in.


L10N internationalization for this module (subdirectory if relative).


Domain for L10N internationalization (e.g., ‘arelle’).


License information to display with plugin.


Author to be listed in the GUI.


Copyright information to be listed in the GUI.


str, list or tuple of plug-in URLs, relative paths, names, or aliases.


See Plugin Functionality below.

Here is an example of what this might look like in Python code:

from optparse import OptionParser
from typing import Any

from arelle.utils.PluginHooks import PluginHooks

class MyPlugin(PluginHooks):
    def cntlrCmdLineOptions(
        parser: OptionParser,
        *args: Any,
        **kwargs: Any,
    ) -> None:
        # This will be called when Arelle searches for `CntlrCmdLine.Options` usages from plugins.
            help='Adds an option to the Arelle command line for my plugin.',

__pluginInfo__ = {
    'name': 'My Plugin',
    'version': '1.0.0',
    'license': 'MIT',
    'author': 'John Smith',
    'copyright': '(c) Copyright 2023 Example Inc., All rights reserved.',
    'import': ['../', '../'],
    'CntlrCmdLine.Options': MyPlugin.cntlrCmdLineOptions,

Plugin Functionality

Arelle is configured to search for and run plugin code at predetermined places. These predetermined places are referred to as hooks.

In the example above, when the plugin is enabled and Arelle calls for the hook named CntlrCmdLine.Options, it will call the MyPlugin.cntlrCmdLineOptions method which will add --my-plugin-command-line-option as an option to the Arelle command line.

Hooks may or may not expect a value to be returned by your plugin’s method, which may or may not prevent other plugins from running or cause Arelle’s default behavior to be circumvented.

See Plugin Hooks to find documentation on expected arguments, expected return values, and other behavior associated with specific hooks as well as documentation for the PluginHooks class that can help with writing plugins.